Olivia Newport bindweed flowerOld notes follow you around.

I had this note about bindweed written in a small notebook for about a year. Then I ripped it out of the notebook and put it in a folder in my office for a long time. I keep looking at it.

It’s about bindweed. I made the note one day after traipsing around a historical ranch/nature preserve kind of place. Small signs around the acreage identified plants that were growing wild in places. (I guess that’s the point of a preserve, after all.)

What made me stop in my tracks was that I recognized the stuff because it grew all over my backyard. I just never knew what it was called. Bindweed sounded like a fitting name, because it would bind to anything, including the rocks in the landscaping of my yard, and grow like a weed.

I read on the sign that bindweed was first transplanted into Colorado from another region. It was not natural to our habitat.

Somebody did this on purpose!

Somebody must have liked it at some point. It does have pretty little flowers. It looks like morning glory, but it’s not. Most people I know consider it an aggravation and we spend our summers trying to eradicate it because it Takes. Over. Everything. Bindweed’s evil purpose seems to be to sneak up and strangle every living thing within its reach.

Does it do that in its natural habitat, or does the balance of nature keep it in check? I don’t know.

I ran into this sign about bindweed at a time that I was pondering my own gifts, both for employment and ministry. Bindweed living outside its natural habitat is like me living outside my gifts. It causes chronic aggravation and more work than it should. The deceptive pretty little blooms are not the blooms of joy.

As I pursue joy in my life, I am most blessed when I am free to live and grow within the gifts that God gave me. That does not mean I never take on a challenge, but that I solve it by being who I am, not by pretending to be someone I’m not.

• Where is the bindweed in your life? Where is the joy?